BLACK BUCCANEER IS my redemption. Too often, in my short time at ZONE, I've been made to feel like a curmudgeonly old grump. While reviewing children's games, I've been forced to complain that children - though smaller and less drunk than us adults - aren't little boxes of stupidity that we can decorate with dross.
So I'm indebted to this title for proving I still have a shred of childish pleasure left in me. A third-person acrobatic platformer, Black Buccaneer is a homage to early Tomb Raider, with some Prince Of Persia, a whisper of Devil May Cry in the combat, and the voodoo fl air of the N64's Shadow Man. Call me a sucker for theatrical voodoo, but I like a religion that lets you walk around hell, then pop back
to open a chest or two. And if you're going to cross pirates with anything, voodoo is ten times better than ninjas or zombies.
Yes, it's pretty basic from the gamedesign point of view; there's a fair bit of cratepushing, you'll fi nd your way blocked by shrubs just before learning how to burn shrubs, and there's a quite staggering focus on killing very similarlooking primates. Also, it's defi nitely too expensive for what it is. These are all valid complaints from the jaded, unhappy adults we've all become.
But at least you're never lost. Both the island of Buccaneer and the missions are neatly parcelled up into manageable chunks. And progress is so steady and the controls so forgiving that it's plain, untaxing fun to explore what's on offer.
Perhaps you want to get someone else into videogames. Perhaps you've just played Faces Of War and need to unfurrow your brow. Black Buccaneer is gaming Botox, and I do somehow mean that as a sincere compliment.